Step Lamp with Tortoise Base

(inclusive of taxes)

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This item cannot be shipped outside India.


Size: 13 x 13 x 45 inches
Medium: Bronze
Origin: Kerala


This is a large, lost-wax cast bronze, step lamp with a kurma (tortoise) base from Kerala. The tortoise represents the Kurma avatar (Lord Vishnu's incarnation as a giant turtle supporting the world). At the top of the lamp is a stylised Kalasam finial. The Kalasam (or kalasha) is considered a symbol of abundance and "source of life" in the Vedas. The Kalasam is believed to contain amrita, the elixir of life, and is viewed as a symbol of abundance, wisdom, and immortality. Below the finial are five circular oil wells that gradually get larger as it steps down the lamp. Each has petal-like protrusions for the wicks, in total accommodating 45 wicks.
The ancient art of lost-wax casting dates back nearly 6000 years in India. First, an artist creates an original model from wax. Everything is then encased with layers of clay, thus becoming a mould for the molten metal that will be poured inside it. When this is poured in, the wax melts and the original is lost. Once the metal hardens, the outer layer of clay is smashed, which is what makes each piece unique.